Tales of the Royal Oak

Oak treeNicola here. I’m away from my desk on a research trip at the moment so I’ve pulled up and re-written an old Wench classic post from more than ten years ago which I really enjoyed writing at the time and which feels appropriate all over again at the moment as we approach Royal Oak Day on May 29th.

Here in the Northern hemisphere the flowers and the trees are starting to look very lush as spring is slipping into summer. In the past couple of years I think I’ve been more aware than previously of the environment around me because of the restrictions on movement we’ve all been through as a result of the pandemic. I’ve always loved nature and the countryside but I’ve definitely looked at it more closely and taken more solace from it in the past months than ever before and one thing I do love is trees. I love their strength and their beauty and the way they can look so dead during the winter (unless they are evergreen!) and then leap into life all over again. I’ve also loved discovering trees we don’t have in England whenever I’ve travelled to other parts of the world. The Quiver Tree in Namibia was a particular favourite. A look at the list of “national trees” shows a huge and wonderful variety across the world.

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Storytelling – Big Oaks from Little Acorns

Nicola at BoscobelNicola here. Today I’m reflecting on the sorts of story ideas that catch our imagination. Last week on my way to the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference I called in at Boscobel House in Shropshire to do a spot of research. Boscobel is the house where King Charles II hid from the Roundheads after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The story is very famous; hunted by Cromwell’s soldiers in the aftermath of the battle, Charles took refuge in an oak tree in the forest that surrounded Boscobel and he and his officer Captain William Careless (not the most confidence-inspiring name!) slept in the branches whilst the Roundheads scoured the forest around him. Later, cold, wet and in low spirits, Charles was taken to Boscobel House where he took dinner, dried his clothes before the fire and slept in a hiding place in the attic.

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